'Saturday Night Live' hits ratings low in first episode after Elon Musk's high-profile hosting gig

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“Saturday Night Live” hit a ratings low following a boost caused by the unique hosting choice of Elon Musk last week. 

The SpaceX and Tesla founder being tapped for the coveted hosting position sparked controversy among both viewers and cast members, many of whom felt the show was celebrating a man for his exorbitant wealth in a time of income inequality. Rumors even circulated that cast members were considering not appearing in the episode with him.

However, it seems the controversy didn’t dampen anyone’s desire to see what Musk would do. In fact, it seems it heightened attention on the show. Last weekend’s episode averaged 7.3 million viewers, making it the third most-watched episode for the season behind the ones hosted by Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, according to Nielsen figures. The latest episode, however, saw comedian and well-known sketch performer Keegan-Michael Key take over hosting duties from the eccentric billionaire in an episode that returned to pre-Musk ratings.

‘Saturday Night Live’ had Keegan-Michael Key guest host after its highly rated Elon Musk episode.
(Will Heath/NBC)

The outlet noted that the results from the penultimate episode of Season 46 represent a new HH season-low and match an 18-49 low in the metered markets.

Key, 50, hosted the episode alongside musical guest Olivia Rodrigo.

Before kicking things over to Key for his opening monologue, the episode opened with cast member Kate McKinnon dressed up as Dr. Anthony Fauci in a sketch that mocked the new Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that state that vaccinated adults don’t need to wear masks or socially distance save for a few noteworthy exceptions. The episode’s “Weekend Update” covered similar ground.

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